Opinions

Chaplain clarifies stance on homosexuality

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Editor, the Gauntlet,

Re: "Homosexuality: Fighting an Outdated Stigma," Nov. 29, 2001,

I should reiterate that my position on homosexuality, that gays are no more sinful than straights, is my own and not the official position of the Lutheran church which I represent.

Like most denominations, my church continues to teach that homosexuality is inherently sinful. Within each denomination however, there are some individuals and congregations that no longer condemn homosexuality. Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Calgary is one such community that wishes to be an agent of healing and reconciliation within church and society. To that end, last year we adopted a statement that affirms the following: "gay and lesbian people share with all others the worth that comes from being unique individuals created by God," and "gay and lesbian people are welcome within the membership of this community upon making the same affirmation of faith that all other people make." In other words, no one has to renounce their sexual orientation in order to be welcomed.

One further point of clarification. The article might make some readers think I am dismissive of the Bible. This is not the case, for as a Lutheran I affirm the authority of scripture and try to learn from and respect the Bible. However, my denomination does not teach Biblical inerrancy, and so we can say that everything Biblical is not Christlike or Christian. We do not worship the Bible. It is not all Gospel-truth. For instance, there are verses (in Deuteronomy 22:21) that declare a bride should be stoned to death if her husband decides she was not a virgin when she came into the marriage. That verse, like other verses calling homosexuality an "abomination," need to be understood as culturally determined, primitive and counter to Christ's command that we love our neighbours unconditionally.

To summarize, my position on homosexuality as expressed in the article is not the majority position of my church. Thankfully, my church permits a respectful reading of scripture that is not bound by teachings of inerrancy, and which therefore allows each person (and community) to participate in an ongoing reexamination and reformation of the church's teachings.

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